Saturday, February 27, 2010

Brutality of Bayonetta

I finished Bayonetta earlier this week. 

I enjoyed the game but feel like even though I've completed the story, the "game" is disappointed in my ability.

The story is crazy.  I found myself getting caught up with the Bayonetta's quest to remember her past and was compelled to see how everything would become resolved.  But I have to admit that I also felt like I would never finish some of the fights.  Last week I tweeted that I found verse 5 in Chapter 6 to have one of the more difficult battles.  I still stand by that.  Any battle that has more than 2 lightning fast mobs swarming you on screen is going to automatically end with me either dying or wasting a Red Hot shot or a using one or more of the green lollies.

I started playing the game with a conservative view toward my ingredients (mostly because I didn't quite understand the benefits of the various lollies) but by the end of the game I was compelled to use everything at my disposal to get through each fight so that I could see how the story ended.

As I said the story is crazy (too crazy to try and recap or explain) suffice to say that as an Umbran witch Bayonetta realizes she has magnificent powers and recognizes that she has a destiny to use those powers to restore her memory and restore a wrong done to her some 500 years ago.  Once you get that concept down the rest of the story is just a hoot to see how exactly every setting that is created fits without losing sight of the game's reality.  The reality isn't William S. Burroughs skewed, but definitely makes you scratch your head at times, and laugh out loud at others.  

The thing that has really grown on me about Bayonetta is just how much the game subtly forces you to learn how to play better.  For every lolly that you use or death that you have (and continue) a penalty is applied to your score at the end of the level.  Even with mostly golds, silvers or the random platinum won for each verse in a chapter I still had to use enough lollies or died to keep my score diminished to the point that I always got a Stone trophy at the end.  At the end of the game a humbling chart shows how you did.  A line of green trophies all across the chart is what I ended up.

By seeing the humbling chart and realizing how much of a penalty I was incurring at the end of each chapter I really want to go back through the game again and make sure that I get a better score but also purchase some of the better items.

My only real complaint with the game is it doesn't seem to know when to say enough is enough.  Boss battles are creatively designed but once you face a boss they show up again and again in the later chapters.  As if fighting the mobs weren't enough, "let's pile on more versions of the last boss from two levels ago".  Maybe I was just trying to rush through so that I could find out the story, but I can't help but feel that there are just a few too many waves of enemies toward the end of the game.

Regardless of the quantity of enemies, the ride all along is an enjoyable one.  Bayonetta is one game that really is surprisingly fun.  One thing that I'd really like to see added to the game (although it would break the story) is the ability to have local co-op or at least local dual combat.  If you get a chance to play I highly recommend it.

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